The purpose of the Economic Development Ordinance is to regulate economic development programs and incentives to protect the public health, safety, general welfare and tax base of the City. Financial Assistance Programs work to maintain the economic vitality of the City of LaCrosse, create good-paying jobs, and assist in the retention and expansion of local businesses.
The City has been a major player in the local economy with its economic development programs and projects for numerous local companies over the years, including: the Trane Company, Gundersen Medical System, Kwik Trip, Logistics Health, Chart Energy, City Brewery, Dura-Tech, the People’s Food Co-op, Buzzard Billy’s, Coulee Region Business Center, International Bake Shoppe, Fowler & Hammer, and others. The City was instrumental in the creation of the Coulee Region Business Center and in creating four industrial parks in the City.
The Economic Development Commission (EDC) was created via the Ordinance 2.23 to act as an advisory body to the Common Council. The Commission shall oversee the administration of the City’s Business Assistance Programs, and address issues common to the City’s economic vitality and viability.
The EDC will coordinate the preparation, implementation, and annual monitoring of Tax Incremental Districts, as well as negotiate the level of development incentive needed in accordance with the provisions of the ordinance. In accordance with Wis. Statutes, Common Council shall have final approval authority of all agreements.
Small Scale Business Assistance Programs
Architectural & Engineering Analysis (A&E) Program
The A&E Program provides funding for building owners to assess a building’s structural and mechanical conditions and to highlight any building code issues. A Pro Forma is also required as part of the project. The applicant hires an architect of their choosing to conduct the analysis and the City pays 80% of the cost of the study. The applicant must have written approval to use the program and verification of funds available must be completed before proceeding with A&E.
Small Business Development Loan (SBDL) Program
The SBDL assists businesses which have both viable business expansion plans and a demonstrated financial need and can be used for the acquisition of equipment, real estate, rehabilitation of buildings and construction of new buildings. Job creation is a requirement along with benefits to low-moderate income households. Maximum loan limit is $200,000.
Upper Floor Renovation Loan (UFRL) Program
The UFRL encourages investments to develop underutilized upper floors. Funds may be used for interior renovations, elevators and other related enhancements to make these floors economically viable. Maximum loan limit is $200,000.
Elevate Downtown Facade Improvement Grant Program
The mission of this façade restoration program is to provide grants and low interest loans to downtown property owners for revitalizing the exteriors of their buildings. Properties must be located within the downtown district.
Northside Facade Improvement Grant Program
The mission of this façade restoration program is to provide incentives to property and business owners for revitalizing the exteriors of their buildings. The grant is available to business and property owners located within ½ mile of the Amtrak Depot Tax Incremental Financing District (TID 7).
Minority Owned Business Assistance Grant
The program seeks to bolster the growth of disadvantaged businesses in order to help alleviate underrepresentation of these enterprises within the community. By assisting current and prospective business owners, this program will help to create a more inclusive business community.
Large Scale Business Assistance Programs
For projects that are larger in scope than the Business Assistance Programs listed above, please see the Standards and Process for Economic Development Incentives. This document is a summary of the Economic Development Ordinance and application process.
If you choose to apply, please make sure to download and complete a personal financial statement for each owner who has a 20% or greater stake in the organization.
Launch La Crosse
La Crosse is a community dedicated to supporting start-up and growing businesses at every step of the way. Many community and non-profit partners offer many different resources to provide this support. The Launch La Crosse website provides information and links to those various resources.